Dear Mr. President: Please Reconsider

[Trigger warning for violence.]

So, Iain and I are watching the Bears-Seahawks game yesterday (go Bears!), and we see an ad for the Super Bowl, which will be airing on Fox, including the news that Bill O'Reilly will be interviewing President Obama before the game.

Apparently, this news was first reported on Jan. 6, before the shooting in Tucson and thus before the memorial in which the president called on the nation to engage in more civil rhetoric, but, in light of that event, he needs to cancel the appearance (to which he never should have agreed in the first place).

Bill O'Reilly is one of the most egregious offenders of violent and incendiary rhetoric among public figures today, a professional font of diarrheic invective who disgorges a continual torrent of contemptible rightwing rhetoric peppered with eliminationist language and overt threats. He has has lied about and stalked his critics, said that progressive bloggers should be dealt with "with a hand grenade," said Air America hosts were traitors and should be "put in chains," suggested Al Qaeda should be allowed to blow up San Francisco ("And if Al Qaeda comes [to San Francisco] and blows you up, we're not going to do anything about it. We're going to say, look, every other place in America is off limits to you, except San Francisco. You want to blow up the Coit Tower? Go ahead."), engaged in despicable rape apology, used virulently racist anti-immigration rhetoric, said he would have ordered the execution of all the prisoners held at Gitmo, openly discussed killing a sex predator, routinely referred to Dr. George Tiller as a "baby killer," even called him "Dr. Killer" in covering Tiller's murder, and loves using the language of war as a rhetorical device, leading the "War on Christmas" charge and referring to himself as a "Culture Warrior."

And that's just the tip of the iceberg.

The president cannot admonish the nation to be more civil and to discuss issues "with a good dose of humility," and then turn around and grant a hugely important interview to one of the most uncivil, egomaniacal, irresponsible commentators in the nation, thus tacitly legitimizing his aggressive, violence-laced shtick.

Well, he can. But not without looking like an integrity-challenged asshole who doesn't feel obliged to hold himself to the same standards he expects of everyone else.

It's not good enough to just not use violent rhetoric himself; he's got to refuse to endorse its use by other people, too, even if that's not politically expedient.

And let us note with bitter irony that this interview is just yet another foolish exercise in trying to appeal to the part of the population that don't even believe he's a fucking citizen. That he's caving for them is craven (and stupid) beyond measure.

And terribly disappointing.

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